The Australian superannuation industry is unique and world-class. Successive governments over the last 20 years have had a clear public policy objective to mandate employer contributions and to encourage personal saving for retirement to ease the demand on government-funded age pensions. As a direct result of this policy, superannuation assets totalled $2.0 trillion at the end of June 2015, and continue to grow. It is also an enormously complex and highly-regulated industry because of its interconnection with the taxation system, and the necessity to ensure that private sector funds are prudently managed consistent with the public policy.
Given the complex and dynamic nature of the industry, trustees, fund administrators and employers alike turn to us for assistance with the constant changes to the legislative and regulatory environment. Through our broad range of clients and depth of experience, we offer a comprehensive understanding of the legal issues in the industry and have developed a reputation in the superannuation industry that is second to none.
We have expertise in almost all legal matters that can affect a participant in Australia’s superannuation industry, including:
- advising on all legislation affecting the industry, including the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, the Corporations Act 2001, the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993, anti-money laundering legislation, Family Law Act 1975 orders and agreements, privacy legislation;
- obtaining and complying with Registrable Superannuation Entity licences and Australian Financial Services licences;
- representing entities in their dealings with regulators, including breach notifications, exemption applications, investigations and contested enforcement actions;
- advising on trust law issues and fiduciary responsibilities;
- drafting and negotiating fund documentation, such as trust deeds, amendments, outsourcing agreements, transfer deeds, indemnities, investment management agreements and asset custody agreements;
- reviewing communication materials to product holders, including content compliance as well as navigating ASIC policy on proactive communications such as seminars, calculators and benefit projections;
- advising boards, including fit and proper training, reviewing board papers and minutes, advising on corporate governance practices, and preparing director deeds of indemnity and access;
- advising on all types of insurance arrangements relevant to funds and trustees, including professional indemnity, group life and disability and group salary continuance, as well as advising on insurance tools made available to members on fund websites;
- fund transfers and mergers, including for complex multi-employer sponsored defined benefit funds;
- litigated member claims for total and permanent disablement benefits and administration errors; and
- advising on arrangements with financial planning groups.
We also have specialist expertise in advising employers on all aspects of compliance with the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992, including application of ATO policy on ‘ordinary time earnings’, how to handle Superannuation Guarantee shortfalls and compliance with the ‘choice of fund’ regime including interaction with industrial awards and agreements. We also advise companies effecting mergers and acquisitions to draft provisions of business sale/purchase agreements dealing with employees’ superannuation arrangements.